Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hawk Blogger 2013 Power Rankings: Week 7

THIS WEEK
Things get a little tighter at the top this week with Seattle adding slightly and the Broncos continuing to come back to the pack. The most interesting move of the week is the Panthers climbing into the top five, and ahead of the undefeated Chiefs. I am sure to receive a few comments and emails about that. Also, the Colts drop some in team strength despite beating the previously unbeaten Broncos.

The formula is the formula, folks. Football Outsiders does a great job with DVOA, which includes strength of schedule, but I choose not to include it here because I don't believe it is worth the effort given the way I would want to calculate SOS. Every place I see that includes SOS does it on an ongoing basis given the combined current record of team opponents. A better SOS measure would be the calculated team strength of the opponents at the time the team played them. Teams change week-to-week. There is no better illustration of that than this week with all the injuries. Was the Texans team the Seahawks beat better than the one the 49ers or Chiefs beat? I think so. Is the Rams team the Seahawks going to face worse than the one the 49ers beat? Most likely.

So I stick with this formula, and am pretty happy to have it. That win over Carolina on the road to start the season is looking better and better for Seattle.

Note: If you are having problems viewing the rankings below, try this link.(Leave a comment if it doesn't work for you!)



Scatter chart of the rankings. This view helps to give you a view of how teams are grouped together. You will generally see tiers of strength develop as the season wears on.



RANKINGS EXPLAINED
Power rankings are always debatable. I don't buy into the gut feel methods most places use to determine their rankings, so I developed a formula a few years back that attempts to take at least some of the subjectivity out of the discussion. My approach was simple, I measured offensive and defensive efficiency based on the Yards Per Carry (YPC) and Yards Per Attempt (YPA), as well as points scored and points allowed. The formula to calculate "Team Strength" was as follows:

(YPC (offense) + YPA (offense) + Avg Pts/Game Scored) - (YPC (defense) + YPA (defense)+ Avg Pts/Game Allowed)


The formula has proven to be a pretty accurate predictor of success, but I am always looking for ways to improve it. I read a great article on ColdHardFootballFacts.com. There was one gem in there about predicting championship teams. The article mentioned passer rating differential as the "mother of all stats." A full 69 of 72 champions have ranked in the Top 10 in this statistic. It is a stat after my own heart, as I believe offensive and defensive efficiency is the key measurable outside of point differential. Turnovers would factor in there as well, but I am not convinced a team has as much control over that. My power rankings use YPA and YPC differentials. I went ahead and replaced the YPA with offensive and defensive passer rating, to give me this:

(YPC (offense) + Passer Rating (offense) + Avg Pts/Game Scored) - (OPP YPC (defense) + OPP Passer Rating (defense)+ OPP Avg Pts/Game)


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